Project management cloud software may seem like the answer to your prayers, but it’s only as good as the people who use it! by Maree Maxfield, Managing Director, Maxama

There are many advantages for using project management tools. You can access timelines, documents, and conversations in one place; the whole team can collaborate effectively; projects can be accessed anytime, anyplace; and a ‘live’ overview means that you always know exactly how a project is progressing.

Cost savings are also a compelling reason to implement project management tools; ensuring more accurate quotes, timesheets, control over expenses, and saving time compared to traditional project management systems.

However, if your team do not embrace the tech all those benefits fall by the wayside. Here I share how you can successfully implement cloud software solutions, from the start.

How To Successfully Integrate Project Management Software

Where possible I would recommend involving your team in the choice of project management software right from the beginning. Get their input, allow them to explore different options and feed back what works for them.

But if you’re reading this it is likely you’ve already subscribed to a solution and now have to get the team on board. Here’s what to do:

Make it personal. You may have made a business case for buying the software to senior management, but the benefits to the company will not carry as much weight with the team who have to use it. Instead they need reasons that are relevant to them. Will it make their lives easier? Will it help them be more effective in their jobs? Does it mean they will save time? Could using it have a positive impact on their career or even salary? These reasons will engage the team much more effectively than how the project management software will save the company money.

Explain that you’re not ‘Big Brother’. Many people worry that time-tracking features are designed to monitor their work and productivity. Take the time to explain that this is not the reason for adopting them. Instead, time-tracking functions allow you to ensure that enough resource is allocated to projects; that future quotes are more accurate based on previous jobs; and that customers get billed for their time.

Roll out slowly. Your team have to cope with their day-to-day workloads as well as learning a new system. If they’re working to tight deadlines, on a contract or with a heavy workload they simply won’t have time to learn how to do everything in one go. Introduce the new system slowly, break it into logical steps and gradually introduce different functions as you go along. Be considerate of their workload, maybe there’s a window to get the team or just some individuals on board, after a project is completed or when workloads are lighter?

Provide training and support. To ensure everyone knows how to use the project management software correctly it is advisable to implement proper training. Training one person up and expecting them to train the rest of the team can lead to confusion, gaps in knowledge and even people doing things incorrectly. Also make sure your team have access to support in the form of user guides or training manuals.

Lead by example. Make sure you use the full functionality of the tool so that others see the benefits. Do this by using internal features such as document management tools, collaboration etc. thereby encouraging the rest of the team to log in and use it. If you’re not able to do this, recruit a champion in the team to promote the tool.

Finally, review and request feedback at regular intervals. It may be that some individuals need more training or support to fully use the software, or that others need to clear their workload before getting up to speed.